Section 3: Terms and definitions

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Job vacancies: Vacant positions on the last business day of the month.

A job is vacant if it meets all three of the following conditions:

  1. a specific position exists
  2. work could start within 30 days
  3. the employer is actively seeking workers from outside the organization to fill the position.

The positions include those that are full time, part time, temporary, permanent, seasonal and on call.

Positions excluded are those

  1. to be filled by promotion, demotion, internal transfer, or recall from layoff
  2. with start dates that are more than 30 days in the future
  3. for which employees have been hired, but the employees have not yet reported for work
  4. to be filled by employees of temporary help agencies, volunteers, independent contractors, or consultants.

Labour demand: Labour demand is the sum of employed individuals (met labour demand) and the number of job vacancies (unmet labour demand).

Labour supply: Labour supply is the sum of employed individuals and unemployed individuals.

Job vacancy rate: The job vacancy rate is the number of job vacancies or vacant positions on the last business day of the month, expressed as a percentage of labour demand (occupied positions and vacant positions).

Unemployment 1 : Unemployed people are those who, during the reference week, were available for work and were either on temporary layoff, had looked for work in the past four weeks, or had a job that would start within the next four weeks.

Unemployment rate: The number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force.

Labour force: Civilian non-institutional population aged 15 and older who, during the survey reference week, were employed or unemployed.

Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratios

  1. All unemployed: This ratio is calculated by dividing the total number of unemployed people, regardless of previous work experience, by the number of vacant positions. This ratio shows how many unemployed individuals are available for each vacant position, and is a measure of the overall tightness of the labour market.
  2. Unemployed, all sectors, worked within past 12 months: This ratio is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people who last worked in the previous 12 months by the number of vacant positions. 2  This excludes unemployed people who worked more than 12 months earlier, as well as new entrants to the labour market.
  3. By sector: For each sector, the ratio is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people who last worked in that sector (does not include industries not covered by the BPS) in the previous 12 months by the number of vacant positions in the same sector. This ratio shows how many unemployed individuals are available for each vacant position in the sector, and is a measure of the tightness of the labour market within that sector.

Employee: An employee is any person drawing pay for services rendered or for paid absences, and for whom the employer must complete a Canada Revenue Agency T-4 form.

The employee concept includes full-time employees, as well as part-time employees, defined as those who regularly work fewer hours than the establishment’s standard workweek. It also includes working owners, directors, partners and other officers of incorporated businesses.

The employee concept excludes owners or partners of unincorporated businesses, the self-employed, unpaid family workers, people working outside Canada, military personnel, and casual workers for whom a T-4 is not required. It also excludes those who did not receive any pay from the employer for the entire survey reference period (e.g., people on strike, on unpaid holidays, or receiving remuneration from insurance, workers' compensation, or other related fund). Employees paid for part of the reference period, and unemployed or on strike for the rest of this period, however, are included in the survey.

Geographic classification: Reporting units are assigned to a province or territory.

Enterprise: An enterprise is any business or institution, whether it is incorporated or not. It includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, companies and other forms of organization. An enterprise is considered to be simple if all its establishments operate in the same province or within the same industry classification; otherwise, it is classified as complex.

Establishment: For statistical purposes, an establishment is the smallest entity capable of reporting statistics of economic production—typically a factory, mine, store, or similar unit.

Industry classifications: the North American Industry Classification System 2012 (NAICS) is based on the supply side or on production-oriented principles. Each establishment is assigned an industry code according to NAICS. A description of the various industries and groups of industries is contained in the publication North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Canada, (12-501-X). For analytical purposes, we have created special groupings that are not part of the NAICS classification.

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